Unequivocally Ambiguous

Humorous Stories on Parenting, Culture and Life

Contracting the Womb’s Real Estate

by | May 16, 2024 | Parenting | 0 comments

A warm summer morning and the beginning of a home birth. (Home Birth: Part 1)

Photo by Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

It was a warm summer morning; I was sleeping on the living room futon so I wouldn’t disturb your mom. I had been snoring for the last couple of days, so I was experimenting with a few things to see what was causing the trouble, but, really, I was there so I would let your mom sleep.

You were past due, like an action movie needed to be back at Blockbuster. Oh, you don’t know what Blockbuster is? Imagine if Netflix had a brick store. What’s a brick store? You know what, don’t worry about it.

You were late, and I just didn’t want your mom losing valuable shut-eye.

Around two in the morning, she tapped my leg and told me, “I’m going into labor, just so you know. But you can go back to sleep.”

In a daze, I asked her, “Are YOU going back to sleep?”

“No.”

I knew I wouldn’t go back to sleep without risking looking like I started fumbling my responsibilities as a future father from the get-go.

I wonder what your mom would’ve thought of me if I did. Or why did she even feel compelled to offer me the option? Maybe it was the beginning of the tests of my parenting capabilities. “Let’s see what he does with this meatball.”

Oh, you don’t know meatball. That’s my fault. Actually, no, I’m proud of that. Baseball is super boring!

Knowing your mom, she actually meant it when she told me I could go back to sleep. She would’ve wanted me to be rested for what was about to go down.

I got up, and I followed your mom back to the room. We had been spending the last couple of weeks preparing for your arrival. We were hard in nesting mode but had really busy jobs and schedules.

At that time, we were both in commercial insurance, and the month you were born was the busiest of the year. So even though the nesting impulse overtook us, your room was not ready.

She was in our room folding towels, so I followed suit and started folding towels from the pile on our bed. We were talking about innocuous things, and now and then, we would be interrupted by a contraction. They can be pesky like that.

We were folding these towels standing up, and whenever a contraction hit her, she would hinge at the waist and rest her hands on the bed.

Your furry sister, Papaya, was there. Usually, she is an overly neurotic Chihuahua mix, but that morning, she was unusually calm as we moved around the house as if she knew what was going down.

Even though we didn’t get to your room, the rest of the house looked very good, including the dining room, which was no longer a dining room. It had become the birthing room where we had a futon and a birthing pool. It wasn’t a big room, so those two pieces of furniture took up all the space.

Your mom and Grammie did a great job of turning the space into a comfortable new-agey birthing center. There was also a medicinal ball covered in fabric, our happy Allocacia plan “Chavela,” and candles on a wooden stool.

Diane, our midwife, taught us the 411 rule and the rule about the 411 rule. The 411 rule is, ‘You are in active labor when contractions are happening every four minutes for one minute and consistently keep that pattern for one hour.’

The rule about the 411 rule is, “Do not call your midwife under any circumstance before you are in 411.”

“You want a rested midwife to be there with you for what could be a 36-hour labor,” Dianne told us when she explained both rules.

Downloading an app to time your mom’s contractions was one of those tasks relegated to the last minute. You would think the app would be called 411, but the information services hotline got there first. Oh, that’s right, 411 doesn’t exist anymore. Back in the day, you could call an operator for information. It was discontinued in 2023. Besides, now Siri can answer all the same questions and more.

Expecting and procrastinating parents, such as myself, are left with the inconvenience of finding a better way to phrase and find a contraction timer in the app store.

The app we were looking for was conveniently named Contraction Timer, but it’s hard to think straight in the middle of the night when your wife tells you that you can keep sleeping or not, but that won’t change the fact your firstborn is cannonballing down her uterus.

I downloaded the app, I started timing the contractions, and we kept folding towels. We were on the last pile we ran to get the house ready for your birth.

At around three in the morning, your mom’s contractions started getting stronger to the point that she couldn’t fold towels any longer. She walked into the bedroom’s bathroom and sat down on the toilet.

I came into the toilet at every contraction to time them and hold her hands, and when she wasn’t contracting, I was running around the house getting everything ready.

I could see the contractions were strong, and I understood then that births are intense experiences. I always knew, but I didn’t know know. You know?

You see them on TV; they have the actress with the sweating, the screaming, and the bulging veins. But it’s a lot different to see it in person and witness the true calm intensity of birth, not the fake hyperbolic one.

As a man, you don’t feel the same things women feel, but I’m not blind. I could see your mom was experiencing something intense. She had transformed from the easy-going, soft-mannered, and sweet-spoken human being she always was into a street fighter. Her shouts and screams were slowly building up and picking up the cadence.

The timing wasn’t picking up the cadence. All contractions were ending before a minute. They were happening with rest periods shorter than 4 minutes. They were happening every 2 or 3 minutes, and they would overtake your mom. I didn’t know if this was unusual or not.

By now, you know us, and you know that rules are rules, and while the span of the rest was below four minutes and your mom was on her way to contracting for an hour, one of the prerequisites was missing: contractions were not lasting a minute.

So we cooped up in the restroom and waited until we had all the numbers for the magical combination of the 411.


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